Lane weakens into tropical storm, still threatens Hawaii with rain

James Marshall
August 25, 2018

A hurricane warning is still in effect for Oahu and Maui County, including the islands of Lanai and Molokai. Forecasters believe the storm will turn west - away from the islands - but are uncertain when that will happen.

Forecasts called for Lane, which peaked as a Category 5 hurricane earlier in the week, to diminish into a tropical storm by Sunday.

The Coast Guard had ordered all harbours to close to incoming vessels and the Navy moved most of its fleet out of Pearl Harbor, where ships could provide aid after the storm.

"We're telling everybody to take the storm seriously, make your final preparations, and be prepared to ride out what is going to be a prolonged rain event", said Andrew Pereira, communications director for Honolulu.

Ryan Leinbach of Kailua-Kona said he "brought everything that might fly" indoors and stocked up on wine, cheese and coffee.

"We were supposed to be there three more days and it was a once-a-year family vacation, so kind of disappointed, but you've got to do what you've got to do", said traveller Cookie Bahi. "If the pond overflows, then it will be bad".

Despite the flooding and landslides making headlines nationwide, some tourists were unfazed, with almost 300,000 now visiting the state, US Sen. "It was like waterfalls coming off my roof", he said of Thursday's downpours. Firefighters evacuated the friends from the Los Angeles area by floating them out on their backs, she said.

Forecasters also said swells generated by Lane will continue to generate large surf and risky rip currents along the south shores of all the islands, as well as cause coastal erosion.

But meteorologists warned heavy rains could still wallop the islands with flash flooding and punishing winds.

Since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico a year ago, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has made changes to how it works, FEMA Administrator Brock Long said on Thursday. Numerous government buildings have closed as the state's residents prepare for the storm. On Maui, Kahului Airport temporarily lost power but it was restored Thursday evening, officials said.

Sea levels were expected to rise as much as two to four feet above normal tide levels, causing coastal erosion and prompting a storm surge and "large and destructive waves". Already mudslides are limiting travel as residents brace for flooding.

Flooding near Hilo led to voluntary evacuations, Hawaii county officials said.

Hurricane Lane barrelled closer towards the Hawaiian islands on Friday as it weakened into a tropical storm.

The Kualoa Ranch in Oahu - which has played host to celebs Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard - has canceled all its tours and closed its facilities as the storm approaches the island, TMZ reported. The storm was battered by 40-50 mph wind shear all day Friday, knocking down Lane from a Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds to a tropical storm in just 12 hours.

Normally, Eck explained, wet air following trade winds runs from the southeast into the tall volcanic mountains on Hawaii and drops its water, leading to a steady drumbeat of small showers and occasional thunderstorms.

Lane could become a further rarity if its center crosses land.

But forecasts made clear that Hawaii had been spared from the threat of its first direct hit by a major hurricane in a quarter of a century.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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